Wednesday, January 30
China: China is now responsible for half of the world’s coal consumption each year, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The news comes as a joint report by the China Electricity Council (CEC) and the US-based NGO the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) proposed a multi-pollutant approach to help cut emissions from China’s coal power stations. The country relies on coal for 71.6% of its electricity. (Xinhua)
USA: John Kerry was confirmed as the new US Secretary of State following last week’s nomination hearing. Kerry has been an active climate campaigner in Washington in recent years fuelling speculation that the State Department intends to push the issue up the agenda during President Obama’s second term. (Huffington Post)
USA: Kerry’s appointment was welcomed by the Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp, who said it underlined President Barack Obama’s commitment to addressing climate change: “We look forward to the opportunity to work with Secretary Kerry and his team as they redouble America’s commitment to diplomatic leadership in confronting the climate challenge,” he said.
EU: Carbon credits are headed toward “junk” status costing the EU an entire decade worth of climate action according to a senior European utility chief. Eurelectric Secretary General Hans ten Berge urged politicians to back proposals to prop-up the European carbon market after a committee of MEPs indicated it would vote against the plans. (EurActiv)
Ethiopia: Plans to establish an East African super grid powered with Ethiopian hydropower are drawing fresh criticism after suggestions that further tying the region’s energy to the supply of rainwater was unwise. The idea is already unpopular in Ethiopia after the country’s energy exports to Djibouti triggered blackouts at home. (AlertNet)
UK: Plans to store nuclear waste underground will be put to the vote by a County Council in a rural part of the UK later today. The proposals to build underground vaults up to 1000m below the surface are close to the Lake District National Park attracting local opposition. The UK plans to build a new nuclear power station subject to the EU approving the government support package and with waste and its associated costs a major concern. (BBC)